Faculty from the West Coast and beyond gathered July 30-August 4, 2017, on the campus of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. We considered what it means to be communities of grace in the world of academia. Highlights included:
- Becoming an intentional, multi-generational, multi-cultural community of grace: every year our faculty and their families bond deeply by caring for one another, playing together, and entering into deep conversations.
- Faculty serving faculty: through our night of TED-style talks from fellow faculty; through our keynote faculty speakers—Dr. Hancock Alfaro, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Su—and through meaningful engagement in small groups and seminars.
- Creating space for courageous and transparent discussions on significant cultural issues affecting life, ministry, and work in academia.
- A daily rhythm of communal, in-depth Bible study: through Lindsay Olesberg’s expert facilitation we dove deeply into Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and were transformed by its challenging message.
The conference offered a “rare space” for faculty to engage in empathetic, supportive community in place of the isolation and loneliness often felt, both in the university and the church. Every year the conference provides healing, encouragement, and life abundant for our faculty and their families.
"The 'theme' was most timely. Communities of grace are in short supply and I came away sensing that God is not just doing a 'general call' to us to be those kind of people, but God is calling me to be a catalyst for the formation of a community of grace."